What are you currently working on?
Most of my time is spent on my new research project Riverine Rights, which formally started the 1st of July this year. The objective is to study the experiences from New Zealand, Colombia and India – three very different countries, which all have granted personhood to rivers.
The relationship between mankind and nature is once again made current due to the corona pandemic. What makes Riverine Rights such an important project?
Thinking of rivers as persons goes against our normal perception, and a first reaction is usually to find it strange. But when rivers are granted rights, as in these cases we are going to study, it is a new way of giving nature legal protection.– Axel Borchgrevink, project manager Riverine Rights.
Thinking of rivers as persons goes against our normal perception, and a first reaction is usually to find it strange. But when rivers are granted rights, as in these cases we are going to study, it is a new way of giving nature legal protection. We know that current economic development is threatening the planets limits, but even so we remain incapable of changing the model. Could legal innovations such as river’s rights contain elements for new ways of managing the relationship between society and nature? Fundamental questions such as this underlies our project.
What will it imply to grant rivers and other nature personhood rights?
This is an idea that has been discussed within environmental Law for fifty years but has only recently been put into practice. We are going to produce new knowledge of the concrete consequences this will have.
Riverine Rights is an interdisciplinary project. How do you work across the various disciplines?
Part of what makes this project exciting is the fact that researchers with social science and law backgrounds will be working together. Traditionally, these disciplines have different approaches and asks different types of questions. We believe that by studying three concrete cases, our perspectives can meet and complement each other.